Sight-seeing is exciting but also requires a great deal of energy! So what better way to take a break than in a selection of places that will make you feel like a real chilango*, experience some of the local cuisine and forget all about the Nacho-Burrito-Fajita Combo and the tourist trap places.
Ready? Then follow this Chilango Eating Guide around some of the most important neighborhoods in my beloved Mexico City.
This is normally the place where every visit starts because let´s face it, it´s an amazing and never-ending place to be! The Zocalo with its visible historical layers overlapping astonishes you every time you see it.
- Tacos. So once you are around why don´t you have some tacos at Salón Corona? There are five branches located around Centro, most of them full, but there is always a possibility to get a table quite fast. It´s not a fancy place but the tacos are amazing, the service is fast and good, and the prices are even better!
- Cantinas. Other options are the very famous Cantinas of all sorts: The typical and touristy one is La Opera —with some bullets from Pancho Villa still visible on the wall— or if you feel adventurous you can always visit La Faena, a very bizarre taurine museum. Even if it´s just for seeing, it´s worth the visit!
- Full Menu. Another great option is the Gran Hotel de la Ciudad de México, they have an affordable menu and you will be amazed by the building and its wonderful stained glass ceiling.
- Seasonal cuisine. Then visit Azul Histórico restaurant with a great menu, which changes according to the season. It is located in the inner patio of a beautiful building. Tip: Afterwards go to the rooftop terrace from Hotel Downtown Mexico, it´s a great place to relax and have some drinks while enjoying the view.
- Food with a view. If you want to make a pause and relax a bit, then a perfect spot to do it is El Mayor, a terrace on the rooftop of the Porrúa bookshop which has an amazing view of Templo Mayor and Zócalo.
- Mezcales. If the evening comes while still being in Centro, then you can always try a Mezcal at Bósforo Bar. They have an exquisite assortment of Mezcales from around the Republic, which you can join with a blue corn Quesadilla with chapulines (crickets—yes the bug!) although you can always order it without.
Tipp: Check the Sunday Sunday website and try to get into these secret parties, because the view from there is unbelievable!
Roma and Condesa are two of the hippest neighborhoods full of bars and restaurants to visit. But despite the large assortment, it is not easy to find a really good place to eat. So here a couple of hints for all budgets:
- Seafood. El Pescadito is a Sonora Style Fish Taco place with a very easygoing ambiance, affordable prices, and a very effective queue system that will get you in in a second. So don´t be fooled by the line outside! If you are feeling like pampering yourself then go to Contramar, a seafood restaurant with very unique preparations just around the corner from the Cibeles fountain. Tip: You can go in somehow, but just in case make a reservation; you know, better safe than sorry.
- Mexican Appetizers. Another good option in Roma is El Parnita: easygoing, nice place to try different “antojitos” (Mexican appetizers) that will leave you entirely satisfied. If you go for dinner, then you´ll have to go upstairs to their evening restaurant, Páramo, which is also nice. As it´s normally a bit crowded, I suggest you do a reservation or be patient.
Not far from Roma and from Centro is this nice neighborhood full with porfirian houses, galleries and, of courses places to eat! So here are three top ones:
- Oaxacan food. Comida A-langa–langa, an Oaxacan“Fonda” where you can try the “tlayudas” and the “memelas.” Tip: If you go in the evening, pay attention to their beer fridge.
- Yucatán cuisine. Do you feel like trying some food from Yucatán?! Well, without going any further, you can do it at the Circulo del Sureste.
Coyoacán means a full day visit between La Casa Azul, the Museo Anahuacalli, the Viveros de Coyoacán, and its beautiful streets and squares. But then what about lunch?
- Cantinas with Mariachi. If you feel like enjoying some mariachi songs then you should go to La Coyoacana. But try to do a reservation because the waiting times there can be really long!
- Fondas. Another option for a quiet break in a hidden corner of Coyoacán is the Mesón Antigua Fonda Santa Catarina. It has a very nice terrace on the top floor, where you can lay back and recharge the energy. A bit further away from the main square, is Doña Lula, an Oaxacan restaurant with good food and great prices. Sometimes there is also life marimba players.
- Chilango Drinks. For an evening break and some drinks then you can visit La Bipo and enjoy some of their very creative cocktails. They also have some good appetizers.
- For the sweet teeth: if the heat was hitting hard during the day, then don´t miss the Tepoznieves: a large assortment of ice cream flavors to beat that heatwave.
Off the record:
These are other restaurants could be interesting for you:
- Sunday breakfast. Nicos – A good place to experience Chilaquiles. It´s a bit far, but it´s worth it!
- Subterranean Food. La Gruta – If in Teotihuacán, then this is a great place to relax and have a nice time before driving back to the city.
- Pozole and Mexican Antojitos. La Casa de Toño – The original one is located in a beautiful old house in Santa Maria la Ribera.
*Chilango: Term used in Mexico to refer to people from Mexico City.